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Mozzarella arrests? How Italian buffalo mozzarella led to 13 arrests.

Mozzarella arrests: Police in Italy have shut down a mozzarella factory and arrested 13 people after finding that the 'buffalo mozzarella' included cheaper imported cow milk along with prized local buffalo milk.

Franco Castano/AP/File
Buffalo mozzarella is prepared at a dairy in Caserta, near Naples, southern Italy.

Police in Italy have shut down a mozzarella factory and arrested 13 people after finding that prized local buffalo milk was being cut with cheaper imported cow milk.

Authorities also found that the cheese, produced near the southern town of Caserta, contained as much as 20 times permissible levels of bacteria, said Carabinieri Police Maj. Alfonso Pannone.

Police on Monday also shut down seven stores selling the cheese in the Campania region, which includes Naples.

Milky white buffalo mozzarella is prized by Italians and tourists. It carries a special label supposed to guarantee quality and protect its reputation.

Among those arrested were two public health service veterinarians who allegedly tipped off the factory, warning them of upcoming inspections. The probe began after a worker lost some of his fingers because of safety flaws.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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